Commerce-focused social media platforms are pulling out all the stops.
Since mid-March, overall activity on Pinterest has shot up. This week, search activity is up about 80% year-over-year. In previous weeks, it’s been up as much as 60% year-over-year, said Amy Vener, head of global retail strategy at Pinterest. There has also been an increase in users engaging with Pinterest’s shopping features, up about 44% from last year.
Pinterest started building a more shoppable platform as early as 2015 with Product Pins, but it really started to ramp things up within the last two years with the launch of Shop the Look ads for mobile and a visual search tool. Many of those updates also came as Instagram ramped up its in-app shopping features and TikTok moved into e-commerce, as well. Now, with more attention on the platform, the company decided to bump up the launch of several new products, including shopping features like the Verified Merchant Program.
“Because retailers don’t have stores to rely on right now, all their business is going through e-commerce. With Pinterest shopping, the path to purchase is visual and personal. If you are pinning things with a certain style, we surface visually similar content,” said Vener.
On the retailer side, retailers can, as of March 26, become part of the free-to-join verified merchants program. Pinterest’s team has to first vet any brand that applies to be verified to ensure the retailer has a clear shipping and return policy, provides customer service information, and provides accurate price and availability information on products.
Companies like Mejuri, Athleta, Birdies and Shopbop have all be verified in the last month. On each brand’s page, Pinterest also includes the number of monthly viewers each brand has across pins. Shopbop, for example, has over 10 million in the last month, while Mejuri has 4.8 million.
Verified brands can upload their entire product catalog to Pinterest, and products are then displayed under a “Shop” tab on the brand’s homepage. They also get access to the platform’s new insights tool that can measure total sales impact of individual paid and organic Pins.
“We are posting more content across all of our channels while being sensitive to the current climate,” said Kate Keyes, director of communications at Mejuri. “On Pinterest, in particular, we are seeing a huge increase in organic traffic, and we are doubling our posting cadence on a weekly basis. [Before the new features] we were posting 15-20 times per week.”
For users, Pinterest added Shop From Board, Shop From Search and Shop From Pins features on April 7, as well as Style Guides, to make discovering new brands and products easier for shoppers. With Shop from Board, when users click on one of their own boards — say, Fashion Inspiration — Pinterest now includes a Shop tab that is inspired by things the user has pinned onto that board.
“It’s almost like a personal assistant based on things you already said you liked. Brands are also taking advantage of these features by adding more products to Pinterest — 2.5-times more than last year,” said Vener.
Similarly, with Search and Pins, there is now a Shop tab on Search and a “Shop Similar” button on Pins. All of the Shop From features show only in-stock and up-to-date product listings.
There are also, of course, benefits to retailers on the advertising and retargeting side, as well.
“If you are searching for something and a merchant has something similar, we now give the merchant the opportunity to buy advertising [to get in front of you],” said Vener.